By Adele Hampton - 02/02/12 03:05 PM EST
“When I talk about shared responsibility it’s because I genuinely believe that in a time when many folks are struggling ... it’s hard for me to ask seniors on a fixed income or young people with student loans or middle-class families who can barely pay the bills to shoulder the burden alone,” Obama said.
Obama’s comments followed the theme of his State of the Union address last week, in which he pitched a populist tone, calling for higher taxes on the wealthy and an economy wherein every worker “gets a fair shot.”
The address also gave the president the opportunity to counter conservative critics who have accused him of pushing an agenda harmful to religion.
“Our goal should not be to declare our policies as biblical,” Obama said. “It is God who is infallible, not us.”
GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich last week accused the president of engaging in a “severe war on Christianity.”
Rick Perry released an ad during his presidential bid blasting Obama for waging a “war on religion.”
“We can’t leave our values at the door,” Obama said during his prayer breakfast address.
Speaking to the many lawmakers from both parties who attended the breakfast, Obama said leaders’ faith could also be a unifying force.
“It is our hope that people of good will can pursue their values and common ground, and the common good as best as they know how, with respect for each other,” the president said.
“And I have to say that sometimes we talk about respect, but we don’t act with respect toward each other during the course of these debates. But each and every day, for many in this room, the biblical injunctions are not just words, they are also deeds.”